Homesteaders

Homesteaders Series Cover

The Homestead Act of 1862 changed the world with its offer of free land. Millions of people immigrated to America seeking their fortune. Thousands came from Norway to the empty prairies of the Dakota Territory.

Esther Allen Peterson is a storyteller in the style of Willa Cather. Her stories are not true, but they are real. The things that happen to Trygve and his family happened in everyday life to most homesteaders in the 1860s.

Esther first became interested in the lives of the original homesteaders when her minister husband, Donald, served four churches in Fairdale, North Dakota, thirty miles from Canada. She says, “The people were wonderful. They still had that pioneering spirit—that is, they felt a responsibility to look out for and help one another. The older members of our congregations were born in those sod houses, and their parents built those square white farmhouses that sat on almost every 160-acre parcel. When we arrived, those big old two-story houses were being torn down, and the grandchildren of those pioneers were building modern houses.”

Esther is the author of nine published books. Her first book, Frederick’s Alligator, won a Christopher Award. She and her husband now reside in Minnesota. They have six children and a multitude of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but her passion is writing. She also loves to share her interest in the early homesteaders at schools, historical societies, libraries, churches, and community gatherings.

"Reading the Homesteaders series is an opportunity to experience the struggles of pioneer life, with the family and community a focal point for strength and growth." – Marilyn Broding, MLS (librarian), Battle Lake, MN

"The Homesteaders series provides an adventure to readers of all ages. The books are easy to read and have high interest as the reader learns about the hardships and adventures of our immigrant ancestors. A must-read for readers of all ages." – Kirsten Olson, elementary teacher, Brainerd, MN

"The Homesteaders series presents quickly readable tales to help young readers understand the intense struggles faced by new settlers just after the Civil War as the railroad moved west. The historic insights are combined with worthy illustrations of how cherished friendships yielded solutions to severe struggles without bitterness and failure. Proven faith-based solutions are described in appealing ways to help young readers in their personal struggles with varying kinds of adversity." – J.S.C., Muscatine, IA

"Many of my students hear the voices of their parents and grandparents in the Homesteaders series. However, the message of hope in these books and the resiliency of the human spirit appeal to all students. With authenticity, Peterson pulls us back to our roots." – Toni Gredensky, Wahpeton High School, Wahpeton, ND

The Homestead Act of 1862 changed the world with its offer of free land. Millions of people immigrated to America seeking their fortune. Thousands came from Norway to the empty prairies of the Dakota Territory.

Esther Allen Peterson is a storyteller in the style of Willa Cather. Her stories are not true, but they are real. The things that happen to Trygve and his family happened in everyday life to most homesteaders in the 1860s.

Esther first became interested in the lives of the original homesteaders when her minister husband, Donald, served four churches in Fairdale, North Dakota, thirty miles from Canada. She says, “The people were wonderful. They still had that pioneering spirit—that is, they felt a responsibility to look out for and help one another. The older members of our congregations were born in those sod houses, and their parents built those square white farmhouses that sat on almost every 160-acre parcel. When we arrived, those big old two-story houses were being torn down, and the grandchildren of those pioneers were building modern houses.”

Esther is the author of nine published books. Her first book, Frederick’s Alligator, won a Christopher Award. She and her husband now reside in Minnesota. They have six children and a multitude of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but her passion is writing. She also loves to share her interest in the early homesteaders at schools, historical societies, libraries, churches, and community gatherings.

"Reading the Homesteaders series is an opportunity to experience the struggles of pioneer life, with the family and community a focal point for strength and growth." – Marilyn Broding, MLS (librarian), Battle Lake, MN

"The Homesteaders series provides an adventure to readers of all ages. The books are easy to read and have high interest as the reader learns about the hardships and adventures of our immigrant ancestors. A must-read for readers of all ages." – Kirsten Olson, elementary teacher, Brainerd, MN

"The Homesteaders series presents quickly readable tales to help young readers understand the intense struggles faced by new settlers just after the Civil War as the railroad moved west. The historic insights are combined with worthy illustrations of how cherished friendships yielded solutions to severe struggles without bitterness and failure. Proven faith-based solutions are described in appealing ways to help young readers in their personal struggles with varying kinds of adversity." – J.S.C., Muscatine, IA

"Many of my students hear the voices of their parents and grandparents in the Homesteaders series. However, the message of hope in these books and the resiliency of the human spirit appeal to all students. With authenticity, Peterson pulls us back to our roots." – Toni Gredensky, Wahpeton High School, Wahpeton, ND

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A Long Journey to a New Home

Author: Peterson, Esther Allen

Subjects: History; Immigration; Family Relationships; Norwegian-Americans; Homesteaders

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

ISBN: 978-0-88092-470-2

Order code: 4702

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4702S

A Long Journey to a New Home Cover

Driven by grinding poverty in the 1860s, the Ytterhorn family of sharecroppers in northern Norway sells their furniture to pay for a passage and the promise of a better life in North Dakota. With their scant belongings and determination against all odds, they typify the migrants' experience in a moving and vivid story. Theirs is a long journey, beset by tragedy and hardship. During the sea voyage, young Ma Ytterhorn dies from childbirth fever, and her husband doubts his decision to submit his family to such a perilous undertaking. He, the new baby, and his other children call upon his wife's best friend to come out and join them. They then together face the winter trek overland by wagon. Along the way they encounter plenty of helping hands and, eventually, land to cultivate, a new homestead, and a new beginning.

A Long Journey to a New Home is the first book in the Homesteaders series.

Driven by grinding poverty in the 1860s, the Ytterhorn family of sharecroppers in northern Norway sells their furniture to pay for a passage and the promise of a better life in North Dakota. With their scant belongings and determination against all odds, they typify the migrants' experience in a moving and vivid story. Theirs is a long journey, beset by tragedy and hardship. During the sea voyage, young Ma Ytterhorn dies from childbirth fever, and her husband doubts his decision to submit his family to such a perilous undertaking. He, the new baby, and his other children call upon his wife's best friend to come out and join them. They then together face the winter trek overland by wagon. Along the way they encounter plenty of helping hands and, eventually, land to cultivate, a new homestead, and a new beginning.

A Long Journey to a New Home is the first book in the Homesteaders series.

A Long Journey to a New Home Cover

Will Spring Come?

Author: Peterson, Esther Allen

Subjects: American History; Immigration; Family Relationships; Norwegian-Americans; Homesteaders

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

ISBN: 978-0-88092-768-0

Order code: 7680

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 7680S

Will Spring Come? Cover

The second volume of the Homesteaders series traces the Ytterhorn family through its first year on the new land. Arriving in May, they claim land, build a cabin, break sod, raise a garden, and grow wheat for bread. They seem to be winning the race to provide sufficiently to survive the harsh winter.

In September the Olson family arrives from Norway to claim the adjoining plot of land. The Ytterhorns immediately aid their new neighbors in their struggle to prepare for winter. A third family claims two plots of land, but they have arrived so late that their preparations are make-shift.

Despite the uncertainties and harsh conditions, the three families develop a community, begin a school and church, and seem to be thriving when disease and tragedy strike. By spring, all has changed.

The second volume of the Homesteaders series traces the Ytterhorn family through its first year on the new land. Arriving in May, they claim land, build a cabin, break sod, raise a garden, and grow wheat for bread. They seem to be winning the race to provide sufficiently to survive the harsh winter.

In September the Olson family arrives from Norway to claim the adjoining plot of land. The Ytterhorns immediately aid their new neighbors in their struggle to prepare for winter. A third family claims two plots of land, but they have arrived so late that their preparations are make-shift.

Despite the uncertainties and harsh conditions, the three families develop a community, begin a school and church, and seem to be thriving when disease and tragedy strike. By spring, all has changed.

Will Spring Come? Cover

The House that Cared

Author: Peterson, Esther Allen

Subjects: American History; Immigration; Family Relationships; Norwegian-Americans; Homesteaders

Age: 12, 13, 14, 15

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

ISBN: 978-0880925051

Order code: 5051

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 5051S

The House that Cared Cover

In the third book of the Homesteaders series, the Ytterhorn/Olson family faces another year of challenges and opportunities on the North Dakota prairie. The achievement of the year is building a frame house with windows to replace the sod houses that were their initial dwellings. Weather, illness, new neighbors, and greed all threaten their well-being—and indeed their capacity to keep the house. Hard work, cooperation, and loyalty to one another help the family survive in difficult circumstances.

In the third book of the Homesteaders series, the Ytterhorn/Olson family faces another year of challenges and opportunities on the North Dakota prairie. The achievement of the year is building a frame house with windows to replace the sod houses that were their initial dwellings. Weather, illness, new neighbors, and greed all threaten their well-being—and indeed their capacity to keep the house. Hard work, cooperation, and loyalty to one another help the family survive in difficult circumstances.

The House that Cared Cover

Pages 1-10:

The Reformation of Grandmother Hulda

Author: Peterson, Esther Allen

Subjects: American History; Immigration; Family Relationships; Norwegian-Americans; Homesteaders

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

ISBN: 978-0-88092485-6

Order code: 4856

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

The Reformation of Grandmother Hulda Cover

The Ytterhorn/Olson family barely receives news of Grandmother Hulda's imminent arrival before she is at the railroad station waiting to be picked up. The prairie has been good to those members of the family who have survived; they have been transformed from poor tenants in Norway into prosperous farmers cultivating their own land in the Dakota Territory.

Now Hulda was arriving with her reputation of being mean, and worse, with her unmarried daughter Ingaborg, who is remembered for bossing around the young Olson children. How would the New World remake them into new people?

This book contains Grandmother Hulda's recipes, including Norwegian meatballs, sour cream, biscuits, and baked raccoon! It is the fourth volume in the Homesteaders series.

The Ytterhorn/Olson family barely receives news of Grandmother Hulda's imminent arrival before she is at the railroad station waiting to be picked up. The prairie has been good to those members of the family who have survived; they have been transformed from poor tenants in Norway into prosperous farmers cultivating their own land in the Dakota Territory.

Now Hulda was arriving with her reputation of being mean, and worse, with her unmarried daughter Ingaborg, who is remembered for bossing around the young Olson children. How would the New World remake them into new people?

This book contains Grandmother Hulda's recipes, including Norwegian meatballs, sour cream, biscuits, and baked raccoon! It is the fourth volume in the Homesteaders series.

The Reformation of Grandmother Hulda Cover

The Prairie Blooms

Author: Peterson, Esther Allen

Subjects: American History; Immigration; Family Relationships; Norwegian-Americans; Homesteaders

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

ISBN: 978-0-89824-484-7

Order code: 4847

Price: $10.99
Website price: $10.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

The Prairie Blooms Cover

In the fifth novel of the Homesteaders series, the struggle of the combined Ytterhorn/Olson family for survival on the Dakota prairie continues with new threats and setbacks, including a prairie fire and an October blizzard.

Signe and Elna go to school in McCauleyville, and both are encouraged to take the test early to become teachers. Just after their fifteenth birthdays, they find themselves being vetted to become teachers in the small neighboring communities. Soon they each will have to prepare lessons, maintain a school, keep unruly children in line, and teach them to read and write and do arithmetic. And they will have to do it all alone, without anyone to help them—except, of course, for the local bachelors looking for wives.

Trygve, meanwhile, is earning good money as a carpenter in McCauleyville, and the family’s hard work on their land continues to produce an abundance that enables them to live so much better than they had in Norway just a few short years earlier.

In the fifth novel of the Homesteaders series, the struggle of the combined Ytterhorn/Olson family for survival on the Dakota prairie continues with new threats and setbacks, including a prairie fire and an October blizzard.

Signe and Elna go to school in McCauleyville, and both are encouraged to take the test early to become teachers. Just after their fifteenth birthdays, they find themselves being vetted to become teachers in the small neighboring communities. Soon they each will have to prepare lessons, maintain a school, keep unruly children in line, and teach them to read and write and do arithmetic. And they will have to do it all alone, without anyone to help them—except, of course, for the local bachelors looking for wives.

Trygve, meanwhile, is earning good money as a carpenter in McCauleyville, and the family’s hard work on their land continues to produce an abundance that enables them to live so much better than they had in Norway just a few short years earlier.

The Prairie Blooms Cover

The Prairie Blooms sample pages:

Signe

Author: Peterson, Esther Allen

Subjects: American History; Immigration; Family Relationships; Norwegian-Americans; Homesteaders

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

ISBN: 978-0-89824-551-6

Order code: 5516

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

Signe Cover

In the sixth volume of the Homesteaders series, five years have passed since the families left Norway. Elna and Signe are now fifteen and are already qualified teachers. While Elna is ready to marry Trygve, Signe is determined to remain single and continue teaching. When smallpox comes to the community where Signe teaches, those who had it before can help the others prepare for it. Signe cares for both children and adults, and her hopes for the future change dramatically.

In the sixth volume of the Homesteaders series, five years have passed since the families left Norway. Elna and Signe are now fifteen and are already qualified teachers. While Elna is ready to marry Trygve, Signe is determined to remain single and continue teaching. When smallpox comes to the community where Signe teaches, those who had it before can help the others prepare for it. Signe cares for both children and adults, and her hopes for the future change dramatically.

Signe Cover

Signe sample pages:

Homesteaders Set of Six Novels

Author: Peterson, Esther Allen

Order code: HOM6

Price: $89.94
Website price: $48.00

Buy the set of six novels at a discounted price to follow the fortunes of the Homesteaders.

Buy the set of six novels at a discounted price to follow the fortunes of the Homesteaders.

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